Friday, May 27, 2011

Listen like Thieves.

Listen like Thieves.

“He didn’t hear me.” I’m thinking and saying it loud and clear to the old strange pair of bones standing next to me as I watch good ol Easton take a slug to the back of his head.
“That feller didn’t see it coming did he?” says the old bones. I want to reply except there’s one thing I know for certain…

Thieves don’t much listen. Not what you’d expect at all. But that don’t make it any less true. And it’s the funny thing too. Because it’s those things that they are missing that really fill in the lines to make a picture.

“Ain’t that something else?”
“Don’t I know it?” I say back knowing that I’m the worser for that knowledge.

The problem with knowing after the fact is the damn misfortune of not being able to change a thing about a situation. It don’t do me a damn bit of good knowing that Easton’s lying there dead in a pool of his own blood because he didn’t hear me when I told him to exit out the back quietly or there’ll be an old lady to contend with. An old lady that has something I need… her old man’s hands.

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t do a thing. Looking across the street at the woman that stands between me and my bounty. Staring her down with that two barreled homemade pistol of hers ain't helping my cause. Walking away isn’t an option. Cause there’s no way in hell this devil will want anything less than his claim. To understand a little I guess you might have had to barter with a dead man before. They rarely want to take a life but sure as there’s a tinge left in their bones they be looking to get even. See even the dead men don’t play fair.

What do I know about fair? I know what I know if you know what I mean. For what more can a thief tell you than that. I wander the night taking back what isn’t mine to claim for those looking to trade. I run by a code of honor and its funny but that’s more like a guide than an actual code. Ask a pirate about parlay and he might take your eye. It’s something like that. But with me I walk the fine path between the living and the dead. Sure enough business is business and I don’t take sides. Unless I don’t get paid.  Then alive or dead makes very little difference to me. See I’m in it to win. Very few people operate on those ideals, but I’m not one of them.

As most people will attest to, there ain’t much a woman won’t do for her old man. Old Lady Palmer was just the same. Leaning over the body of my latest assistant she bends down to pick up her old man’s hands. Careful to keep one eye crooked my way she puts the pair into her apron and rolls it up and heads back into the house.

“Damn. What about that now, Sonny?” says the strange old fellow.
“I’ll be damned that is.” I tell him thinking of how to get a hold of those hands.
“That’s something. It was interesting boy, but… I’ll be on my way.”

On my way to collect the bounty that’ll ruin me both ways thick. See it’s one of those times where the taking ain’t so much about belonging. But that makes no difference to a thief. We don’t ask questions when you sign in agreement. To take anything requires a contract and this one ain’t much of a fair trade. Business is business and I’m not about to come up short. Devoted old lady or not. That thieving bird made right by his wedding ring is still a thief right down to her heart. Once a thief always a thief, thick or thin that bird ain’t splitting me from my prize tonight.

Dalton Palmer had a good life as can be seen by his good deeds. The story is in his hands and not much more. Now it can be said that a man’s hands will tell you a little about him. And that couldn’t be truer in this instance. Dalton had a gift with his hands. Most people go their whole life not knowing their one gift. Not this man. He happened to have a knack for creation. A true renaissance man when it came to healing people and picking locks. Now Dalton was by trade a thief but he wasn’t a bad fellow by it either. Understand for all the thieving he’d done across his life he would still give a helping hand to someone whether they deserved it or not.  If you like to believe in opposing forces that’s where the trouble lies herein.

Dalton didn’t make many enemies. To claim otherwise might cost you the tip of your tongue out back by old Franklin's place. Liars don’t mean much, but a man that disputed the reputation of the healer was seen as low. But there was an enemy. And he weren’t much better than the devil himself.

Lowest of the swine he kept himself to himself out past the Franklin's. Seems that Youngman Brady Palmer had the misfortune of being a bad cheater and happened to bring considerable pain to anyone that he laid his hands on. And if that weren’t enough trouble his mama sent him to live with the West End Palmer’s when he was nine so his younger brother Dalton could live a better life without the pain he caused. Brady had nothing but misfortune in his life from the good old age of nine until he was laid to rest. Since he lay the blame directly on Dalton, Brady saw fit to destroy his brother any which way he could. Taking his hands seemed to be top of the list.

Step by step I’m up over and around the back stoop and through the door. The old lady ain’t waiting for me, but damned if Palmer ain’t sitting there with his hands in his lap. Without warn I can feel the wind in the room shift and I’m locking my hands into her flesh. Three steps around me I’ve taken the gun and kicked it away from her. Palmer says nothing but looks at me with my hands around her throat.

“I’m taking the hands.”
“Let her go.”
“Tell her that I’m taking them.”
“Darling, let him take them.”
“I’m gonna get up slow. Your old lady moves wrong and I’ll take her head.”

I move up and off the bird real slow like I said. Lifting my machete from its secure place I make the move. Nothing could be more than perfect when I step back and over to collect my bounty. Lowering my hands I carefully hear it happen and react with a feeling. As the air in the room shifts with the energy around me the swing of my blade jumps. In a flash there goes old lady Palmer’s head across the kitchen floor.

Quick as my actions move by me, I’m taking both of the hands and walking out as Dalton starts shedding the tears for that old bird. What happened could have been different. Old lady true or not that one should have listened. Filling in the lines didn’t make much sense and she stepped in when she ought to have stayed out of it. Aint that something though. Thieves never listen.

Listen like thieves. With thieves, there is actually a bit of honor among them. Unspoken. But it's there. This is from a little earlier in the week. It’s been “push em back, push em back, way back. Go Panthers!” Cheerleaders? Anyone? The week has been… well frankly there’s nothing small about it. Would love to share but there’s nothing intimate about the web. It’s the one thing people use to replace personal connection with. I miss the phone calls but not as much as I miss when people would pop by to visit.  Anyway, listen like thieves with a little bit of INXS. Enjoy. Everything. Live. Laugh. Love. Breath. kisses. m.

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